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Formamide is a chemical precursor of potentially biogenic molecules. Its properties as a solvent and as reactant afford, in one-pot reactions, organic molecules as complex as nucleosides and nucleotides, amino acids, mixtures of carboxylic acids and sugars. The reactions occur in numerous and different physical-chemical conditions fuelled by different sources of energy, and are stimulated by different types of catalysts. Photochemistry, in particular, represents a potent tool to improve the prebiotic role of formamide, opening novel scenarios for the contemporary synthesis of the precursors of pre-metabolic and pre-genetic apparatuses.

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